Myanmar Adventure : Bagan 

Bagan was considered to be the heart of Myanmar over the centuries. It burts of spiritual creativity which lasted for two and half centuries , beginning in 1047 and ending in 1287 when Kublai Khan raided the city.

One the main attraction is the “Bagan Archaelogical Zone” which occupies an impressive 26-sq mile area.

Sunrise and Sunset is the best part of the day to view the temples/ pagodas.

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Getting inside Bagan is not free. We paid $15 per person to get into the city. Make sure you do not loose your entrance ticket for the duration of your stay.

We took a night bus from Yangon and arrived in Bagan around 4 am in the morning just in time for the sunrise and it was beautiful.
There are several ways to tour the site and we decided to rent a horse carriage for the day and it was a good idea indeed. Our driver and tour guide took us to a lovely place to watch the sunset.
Untitled Waiting for the Sunset at one of the temple. Untitled
Another Panoramic view of Old Bagan.

Untitled One of the many Pagodas you can around Old Bagan. I kept saying “Old Bagan”, since that is what most of the local refer to the archaeological site. New Bagan refers to where most of the local lives. Untitled

Our ride for the day. Very comfy and keep us out of the sun.

December is considered to be one of the Dry season and it can get hot in the day. There are barely any shades around till you get to the Pagoda.
Untitled Our very hardworking tour guide for the day. Untitled
You can also meet local selling this kind of art. They claim to be the one making it. Well technically they do paint it. It’s one of those do it yourself painting with already patterns on it and all you need to do is paint it. I got suckered into buying one and later found out that almost everyone is selling the same thing.

And in all pagodas, small or big, shoes are not allowed so it would be advisable to bring an extra pair of socks or wet wipes to use afterwards.

Bagan is an amazing place to visit. A place full of history. If not for invaders, I wonder how the city would have flourish. What kind of philosophies or philosophers or scholars have studied there.  If only those rocks, pagodas could talk, I wonder what kind of stories they would tell.

 

Toyama Castle

About 10 minutes walk from JR Toyama Station you can find Toyama Castle.

Toyama Castle
It was built around 1543. It is also called Azumi Castle.

The castle ground is opened to the public but if you want to get inside, you need to pay. Unfortunately, the castle was still closed when I got there so I just roamed around and catch a glimpse of it’s beauty.

Toyama Castle The back of the castle. Toyama Castle
These stones where used in building the castle.

Toyama Castle

Front view.

Maishima Incineration Plant

As I mentioned in my other post, there are two building or facility that has some weird design in Maishma, this one is the Incineration plant.

It burns garbage from Osaka City, Yao City and Matsuhara City. Tour here is more famous than the Sludge Center and the facility are more tour-friendly too.

Again the tour itself is in Japanese but you can request English and I think Chinese audio when you make your reservations.

Let’s start the tour.

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The red color represents fire.

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With the tower. Inside the tower are 4 big exhaust pipes.

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Unloading area for the garbage.

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A miniature version of the inner part of the facility.

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A miniature version of whole facility.

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The “garbage picker”. The facility have 2 incinerator which can burn up to 450 tons of garbage in day so that would 900 tons/day.

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The office and monitoring area.

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Our guide explaining to us how the garbage are being incinerated.

It is an amazing facility. People asked why would you go there? Why not? I think it is vital how our rubbish are being disposed and how our tax money are being used. The facility operates 24 hours but other than the smell of the incoming garbage trucks, there is no smell at all. The air filtering system is amazing.

Also the facility does not use any gas, oil to burn the garbage. It uses a sort of air combustion technique . They also use Thermal recycling meaning no energy is going to waste. The heat from the boiler rooms are utilized for floor heating, water, gas reheating and for preventing explosion in the hammer crusher. The same energy is also used for power up the plants operation on a daily basis and the remaining power is transmitted back to the local power company.

Details on how to make reservations are here(sorry only Japanese).

Maishima Sludge Center

If you have been to Kansai International Airport in Japan, you might have noticed two very distinct towers along the way.

One is color blue and that is what I’m going to blog about.

This building was designed by the late Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

So what is this building?

This is actually Osaka’s water recycling facility for underground water. Thus the color blue, it is suppose to represent water.

Touring the facility is free but requires a reservation. Tour is mostly done in Japanese but you can ask an English audio guide during the reservation

Let’s take a tour of the facility.
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A wall painting of the facility
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The staff working so hard :p.
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The tour was only within the building but the weather was really nice and we had a really nice tour guide that he decided to take us all the way to the rooftop and show us around there too.

A view from the rooftop.
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This tower actually contains 4 or was it 6 exhaust pipe.
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After walking around the rooftop we went down on the base of the tower and continued our tour there. I’m not sure if this is still part of the official tour but hey I’m not complaining.

A storage area for the Sludge.
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The base of the blue tower.
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The back area of the facility.
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This facility only recycles Underground water for Osaka City not Osaka Prefecture.

The by product are now being research to be used for pot making but some are actually used as construction material so nothing is thrown away.

It was really a very educational tour around this facility.

If you live in Osaka City, this is where your monthly payment goes for underground water treatment and of course your tax.

Retro Osaka Buildings : Arai Building

新井(Arai) Building was original a bank back in 1922. It then became a restaurant in 1976 but unfortunately due to some safety issues the restaurant closed.

In 2005, a patry shop , Gokan opened in the first floor.

The building has 4 floors and 1 basement floor. Currently the upper floors are now office space for rent.

After we left Ikoma Building, we walked about 5 minutes passing by Nomura Building and met the building manager of Arai Building.

Nomura BuildingNomura Building, Side Design Walked up to the second floor and check some of the offices there. No getting inside though, just a peek. Then we walked all the way to the top floor and got a short history and overview of the building. Arai Building, going up
Going up!

The hallway!
Arai Building , the hallwayA cat design in one of the offices Arai Building , the cat :)

Arai Building, taking pictures of people taking picturesA short description of the window (?)

I found yelp ! Arai Building and Yelp

Here too!
Arai Building and Yelp

It was a fun day. I got to see another side of Osaka’s Historical Buildings and get to checkout how it looks inside.